This chapter describes the quality assurance system in early childhood and school education, in higher education and in the adult education system.
At present, early childhood education is not involved in quality assurance procedures at national level. ECEC settings for the 0-3 age range (nidi d’infanzia) undergo a monitoring and evaluation procedure aimed at the accreditation of the settings. Accreditation is decentralised at local level and, therefore, it is not possible to provide an overall description. At pre-primary level, up to 2022/2023 schools carry out an experimental self-evaluation procedure that will gradually be implemented in the national evaluation system that involves school education. This level of early childhood education is described together with the other school education levels.
The National institute for the evaluation of the education system (Istituto nazionale di valutazione del sistema di istruzione – Invalsi) is responsible for the National Evaluation System, which implements the quality assurance process in school education, from the primary to the upper secondary level (DL 5/2012).
The evaluation process consists of four phases: self-evaluation of schools, external evaluation of schools, improvement actions and public accountability of schools. External evaluation also includes the external evaluation of students’ learning achievements. The evaluation procedures develop in a three-year period. In school year 2019/2020 started the second cycle of the evaluation of schools with the drawing up of a self-evaluation report (Rapporto di auto-valutazione – RAV). The second cycle will end in school year 2021/2022 with the dissemination of results by schools.
Regulations on public administration require that schools develop performance management and improvement processes. This includes also awarding systems for best performers (law 150/2008). The Board of Auditors controls the administrative and accounting regularity of schools.
Quality assurance in higher education is guaranteed through both internal and external evaluation (law 240/2010). The internal evaluation is carried out by the ‘Evaluation centres’ and by other specific bodies of each university. The external evaluation is under the responsibility of the autonomous National agency for the evaluation of the university and research system (Agenzia nazionale per la valutazione dell’università e della ricerca - ANVUR).
From school year 2019/2020 the National evaluation system also involves the adult education system. At present, the evaluation procedures are undergoing a trial phase that will cover the three-year period 2019/2022 as for school education. Provincial centres for adult education (Centri provinciali per l’istruzione degli adulti - CPIAs fare link ad ancora nel glossario), the institutions that deliver formal adult education, have started their evaluation by drawing up a self-evaluation report specific for this type of institution (RAV – CPIA).